Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas letters......or snail mail.


Our Holiday Greeting...........

Yes, I still send snail mail Christmas cards and a Christmas letter. 

I was going to forgo the annual Christmas letter and cards this year, and just post this on my blog directing friends from Facebook to read it here. But then as I sat and looked at my Christmas card holder with only a few cards in it, I realized that if I did that Roger would not get to enjoy the Christmas greetings that we have received for the past 39 years that only come through the U.S. Mail service. 

You see, I'm married to man who just this year got his first I Phone, even though it isn't connected to the internet, and learned to send text messages. He doesn't have a Facebook page, and prefers it that way, and doesn't have a clue as to how to check the company e-mail. I am the sole reason that we are on the internet at all. 

Because of this, I realized that Christmas would be woefully void of news, updates, pictures, and catching up that we both so look forward to from friends and family each year. For it seems that when you send a Christmas greeting, you usually receive one in return.

Plus if you are like me, you have other friends that are not on the internet, and who look forward to your updates, just like you look forward to theirs. So I will continue to use the old snail mail method, however, .........here is the internet version of our Christmas letter.

Merry Christmas!!!!!

2015 is almost over! Hard to believe as we are still plugging along and doing pretty much all the same stuff we usually do. 

Roger and Nicolas are still busy building beautiful new homes in Emporia with the occasional remodel and installing those gorgeous custom kitchens. We are thankful for the work, and hoping for some milder weather so they can get their current project enclosed. 

I continue to share half of my days with Samuel when he isn't in school, and keep the home fires burning. I celebrated my 60th birthday in March with all the kiddo's being here and celebrating to the max...I don't really FEEL any older!?!? 


Audrey and Paul Coleman surprised us in May with an elopement. 5-15-15 will be an easy date to remember and anniversary. We are very happy for them both, and thrilled to have Paul as part of our family. They continue to reside in Phoenix and work at the Palo Verde Nuclear Plant. 


Nic and Melissa are still here with Nic continuing to work with Roger while Melissa is closing in on that graduation date in May of 2016. She is so ready to be done with school and able to use her nursing skills. We are just as excited for her. There will be celebrating!! 

Sam is 5 years old, and is in his last year of Pre-K at Lords Lamb Preschool. He is growing up so fast Grandma is having a hard time keeping up some days. He is a great little helper. He loves to cook, help plant flowers and rake leaves and anything else that might be filling Grandma's days. He will start Kindergarten next year and I'm going to miss him terribly!  

We want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! 

                                        Hoping 2016 hold all the best of God's                                            blessing for you and yours!!   

Roger & Andrea 


Monday, October 19, 2015

On Earth As It Is In Heaven...

I don’t sleep well at night. (most of this is due to my age, hormones, etc. don’t worry about me) however, when I find myself awake for hours on end, I don’t find it very easy to lie in bed; so I get up. By this I mean I go downstairs and sit in a chair and either surf the internet, or sit at my computer and write……like I’m doing now.

Or I pray.

Most of the time I pray, and as I pray, my mind invariably races ahead to other things, and I have to reign it in over and over it seems. My mind, you see, is my worst enemy I find, especially when I pray.

Many times I find myself, as I struggle to stay focused on my prayers, turning to The Lord’s Prayer. It isn’t because I consider it an abbreviated version of prayer; on the contrary, it is really the longest prayer, if you think about it as you pray it. But it helps me reign my thoughts in on the one thing I need, and benefit most from thinking about; God.

These are the things I realize and think about as I pray the Lords prayer.

Our Father….

This is a big one for me. The very word Father doesn’t denote for me the same things it brings to mind for most people. Daddy died when I was 7 so from that point on, there has been a big fat void in my concept of “Father”. This brings me back to passages of scripture I’ve read over the years where the attributes of God as our Father come to mind, my favorite passage being Psalm 103.

103 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him
;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us
.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him
.
14 For he knows our frame;[a]
    he remembers that we are dust
.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children's children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his word,
    obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
    his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord
, O my soul!

Searching scripture, the attributes of our Heavenly Father are listed over and over, but in PS 103 I find them somewhat encapsulated.  He does all the above for me, and to me. Those are some very comforting things to dwell on.

Who art in heaven…..

Some would look at this and say, “yeah, He is up there, while I’m down here”. But to that I say see previous entry under “Our Father”. Any father THAT involved in my life can’t be that far away. To me, this says heaven is a place; a place to go to dwell, to get away from here…….and all that that implies.

This earth is not my home. I don’t belong here. This is not the place God had planned for me, or anyone who is His child. My place is in God’s presence, as He sits on His throne in heaven.

Revelation 4

4 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings[a] and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
    who was and is and is to come!”
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they existed and were created.”

Ezekiel 1:26-28

And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire;[g] and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. 27 And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him.[h] 28 Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

This is the place of God. Our Great Big God Who art in heaven. This is whom the Lords Prayer is addressed to. The all seeing, all knowing, omnipresent, omnipotent God, who remember now, is OUR FATHER! Yes, the same Father who just a few of His surprisingly human attributes are listed in PS 103. Take a minute and think about that… for that is where you will spend eternity.

Hallowed be Thy name….

Many people don’t even know what the word “hallowed” means.

Holy, set apart, sacred, revered…..be Thy name; the name of God, who He is.

We bat God’s name around in conversation, or worse use it as a curse word, when in the early days of Scripture, they didn’t even mention God’s name it was considered so……so…….Sacred, Hallowed, Holy.

If you Google the names of God, the list is amazing…….He has many. But the names of God are not just names in the sense of a moniker like our names. The names of God are a verification of His attributes, His character. So when I think of revering God’s name as Holy, sacred, set apart, I think back to PS 103 and beyond in the descriptiveness of God’s very nature.

He sees, He provides, He is three in one, He is my banner, He heals, He sanctifies, He is my Peace, He is my Shepherd, He is I AM………..

His name? Honor it? Hallow it? Yes, as the one who provides for me, who sees all and everything about and concerning me, who heals me, who delivers me, who saved me, who sanctifies me, who gives me peace, who leads and guides me…….a name……

Thy Kingdom Come…….

This immediately takes me to the gospels where Jesus, over and over, starts a story with, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…”

He put another parable before them, saying,The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. Matthew 13:30-32

He told them another parable.The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” Matthew 13:32-34

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Matthew 13:43

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. Matthew 13:46-48

52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Matthew 13:52

God’s kingdom…do you want it to come? Reading the above passages, I realize that the kingdom of heaven isn’t a place so much as a desire that takes over your very life, to the point that you will give up all you have to attain it. When you pray, “Thy kingdom come” do you really want the kind of life where your desire for God and what He wants, penetrates to your very core, and changes the direction for your life?

Thy Will be done….

Notice this says, “Thy will” not “My will”.
God’s will…….people will ask, “but, what is God’s will?” 

Don’t complicate this. God told us his will for us back in the book of Deutoronomy 10:12-13

12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?

Jesus responded with the same passage in Luke 10:26-28, when ask “What should I do?”
26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

God’s will, for us to Obey Him, to Honor Him in our lives, to Revere Him, to Love Him, to Serve Him, with every fiber of our being……to love others as we love ourselves, loving Him more than both…

What was that thing about God’s kingdom taking over our lives?

God’s kingdom, God’s will…….. Hmmmm?

When I’m struggling with God’s will, I think back to this, and ask myself, “Do I REALLY want God’s will in my life?” Cause if I do, I have to realize that for God’s Will to be done, His kingdom will have to come in my life, which leads perfectly into Jesus’ next phrase….

On Earth as it is in Heaven.....

We have already established that Heaven is a place; a separate place from earth.
Recognizing who God is, desiring God’s will for our lives and His kingdom here on this earth…….bringing heaven down. This is exactly what Jesus did; Jesus, the author of this prayer.
He occupied both places. When He prayed these words, he had a frame of reference for both that we don’t have.

Hebrews 5:7-10
In the days of his flesh, Jesus[a] offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.


Hebrews 1:1
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

Hebrews 4:14 
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Jesus, the Son of God, left heaven and came to earth. He understood fully when he prayed and desired for things here to be as they were in heaven.

I figure that if Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith desires things on earth to be like they are in heaven that should be my prayer also. And seeing God in PS 103, desiring His will for my life and His kingdom to come by what I’ve said before, this is a logical next step.

Give us this day our daily bread

What is YOUR daily bread? Breakfast, lunch, dinner?

For me there are two levels to this request, the physical and the spiritual.

Feed me Lord, both physically and spiritually. He is faithful to do both.

I never go hungry. I never have, and I find it unlikely that I ever will. Physically, I am well feed. My cupboards are full. I have very few physical needs.

But in the day when this prayer was prayed, starvation, lack of clothing, were realities that haunted everyone. For some on this earth they still are; but not for me.

Provide our needs. By asking we show trust we know He can and He will.

The verse from Matthew 6 automatically comes to mind:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The encapsulation of “Give us this day our daily bread”; in the physical sense.
But Jesus also addresses the spiritual sense of this request too.

In John 4:31-34 is says,
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”

So you ask, “What IS our daily bread?”

To do God’s will.

Refer back to Deut…. Remember?
Yes, it is easy to sit here with a full stomach and a hot cup of coffee within reach, and a fully stocked kitchen and say rather flippantly, “God will provide my needs.” But shouldn’t I be more concerned about God providing my spiritual needs to “do his will” and “to accomplish his work”. To feed me with the bread of heaven that I can’t possibly provide or buy for myself. Maybe that is the comparison here of physical and spiritual. And by doing that kind of work, I pray for those whose physical needs aren’t being met, and ask how I can be His hands and feet to help provide their daily bread. .

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us……

Trespasses, debts, infractions, things owed…. sin………

Regardless of the way it is worded, we all know it means wrongs done against God and others.
I seldom give this a thought anymore. I’m covered by the blood, I’m saved by grace, yeah, I screw up, but when was the last time I REALLY sinned? When was the last time I really felt like I needed God to forgive me of something? Bold huh? Or maybe just stupid…..

But I DO owe a debt I can’t pay. I have been reminded that I am the sinner who owes much, and didn’t have the grace to forgive others. 

Forgive.

We get caught up on the words like trespass and debt and kinda skip the first and biggest word.
Forgive. 

It can be hard to forgive, sometimes impossible. (I’m not judging, just saying what I’ve been told).   But when you recall that Jesus hung on a cross, beaten and bloody, and actually ask God to forgive those who had done this to him, it sort of clears the fog as to the extent of forgiveness He was and is talking about. 

Who do you need to forgive? Cause it says, “as we forgive others”.


Jesus actually follows the Lords prayer with the following statement, 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Colossians 12:13-14
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

So you ask, is God’s forgiveness conditional? Yes, on the contingent that we forgive as he does. 

Scripture is encouraging here…..once again, PS 103. “12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us
.”

10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    
nor repay us according to our iniquities.

Another reminder that is God can forgive me, then I am to forgive others…..there are no limits to this, go guidelines, or limitations……forgiveness………..unequivocal, pure unadulterated forgiveness. Walk away, let it go, forget about it.

This is often a good opportunity for us, even in the Christian community to split hairs, and that is exactly what Peter tried to do when he ask Jesus the following question:

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.[g] 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.[h] 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant[i] fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii,[j] and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers,[k] until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”


I don’t think you can improve on that explanation.

And lead us not into temptation…….

Now just to be clear here, God tempts no man.

James 1:12-14 says: “12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”

Also, temptation itself is NOT a sin….giving in to temptation is the sin. But we are all tempted each and every day, aren’t we?

My temptations seem small and trivial. Too many snacks, ignoring things around me, just tempted to let them go. But temptation is temptation. And by walking into it, giving into it, what are we really saying? Am I trusting God to get me through it, out of it?

I realize as I pray this phrase that I need Gods help here more than I realize.

The next phrase explains this….

But deliver us from evil……

Temptation comes from the evil one, Satan, as he is called. Let’s face it, it started in the garden and hasn’t let up. The battle still rages and it is a battle not over sin, but for our souls in the way that we are going to have to choose to trust God or not.

When we are tempted, do we turn to God for help? Scripture says we can.

1 Corinthians 10:13 “13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Complacency has cost some of us so much that the damage done by it can be and is irreversible. I need to develop a mindset here, that when temptation comes, first remember the source of the temptation, and run from it, run straight into the arms of God, to help in the fight.
Temptations now-a-days are getting to be more costly it seems.

Internet Pornography, alcohol, drugs, money, lying, cheating……. Giving into them can bring consequences that will never go away. If God is truly faithful, and we know He is, then we can remember the above verse, especially as we pray this prayer; a prayer of deliverance from the evil one.

Sometimes when I pray this prayer and I get to this phrase, I say “but deliver us from the evil ONE” because it helps me realize and remember that I am in a battle for my soul. Jesus has saved me, but I want him to able to say to me when I stand before Him on that great day, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.” And Satan doesn’t want that for me, so the battle rages. The enemy is out to destroy me and Jesus knew it, or he wouldn’t have given his disciples and us such instructions on how we are to pray to our Heavenly Father….

SO, this is not a comprehensive explanation of the Lord’s Prayer; there have been entire books written on it. But this is my explanation of what I think about as I pray it. These are the reminders that come to mind for me of God’s faithfulness, and presence and steadfastness to me as I pray the prayer His Son taught us to pray.

 By the time I get through to the end of the prayer, my mind is better focused and I am better able to concentrate, not on what I want to pray, but on whom I’m praying too, and suddenly the who and why of my prayers seem somewhat inconsequential and I know that “My Father” has got it all covered. 

Jesus knew just what I would need……..


HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Parenting from this side......

If you know me, you know that I have kept my grandson since he was born, on a regular basis, while my son and daughter-in-love work and go to school. This has thrust me back into rubbing shoulders with young mothers at library story time, church, and pre-school.

Now I know that everyone is different, and that we all handle the things that come in life differently. But somewhere along the way, I’ve become somewhat captivated with how the younger generation is “handling” things. The internet is playing a HUGE role in this. I have read and perused dozens of websites and blogs written by many young parents, especially mothers, about how they are handling life. I find this interesting, a study, so to speak in human nature. Trust me when I say that I am perfectly aware that what someone writes on a blog or a website can be manipulated and embellished to the point that there is little reality there at all, but I also know that under every lie, exaggeration, or “story” there is also a bit of truth and reality
.
I have often bemoaned the fact that the internet wasn’t around when my kids were growing up because there is so much out there that would have been tremendously helpful when my kids, being 15 months apart, were very small; assurance, validation, support, and encouragement, but then when my kids were very young, I would not have had time for the internet.

I was also told by one young woman, a mother of three, when I commented to her to this effect, that it can be a blessing, but also a curse. I understood, because we are prone to compare ourselves to others, and I can’t help but wonder if that isn’t what all this is really about.

A slippery slope to say the least. Comparing ourselves to others has taken on a global influence, something that I’m pretty sure isn’t a good thing. I cannot imagine comparing my life, children, and child rearing techniques to those of someone, say in New York or Japan. I used to struggle just looking at close, local friends, let alone the entire world of blogging and websites that so many young women are reading and writing these days.  

I do see the boost that these parents get from this though. We all need encouragement in whatever we are doing. We all need to know that even when what we have done appears to be a huge mistake, that our children are probably less scarred by it than we think. We all need the support to get out of bed and keep going on those days of utter exhaustion after a night of sick little ones, and none or very little sleep. But this constancy of it, and it can be constant with a hand held device, I’m afraid can be dangerous.

I also see where because of this so many of these young parents are looking to each other for the support and advice they feel they need, and not necessarily those who have actually walked through it and come out the other side.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert on raising kids, trust me, that has been driven home to me more than once, but there are some things in all this that I see, that if I had the opportunity to share a cup of coffee with these  folks, and talk to them, this is what I would tell them.

    1) There are no exacts with child raising. One method used on one child is probably not going to work on the next one. Every child is different. Your job, is to study the child and get to know them. This takes time. It is a priceless investment that pays HUGE rewards. It’s called relationship.

    2)Your children are watching and listening to you. They hear that tone in your voice when you are speaking about or to someone.  They know if you are exaggerating or embellishing a story to garner attention. They can spot a phony a mile away. Listen to yourself when you speak, because later you will hear yourself coming out of those little mouths.

    3)  Stop doing too much. You heard me. Most of us, at any age are over extended in our lives. We are trying to do too much. We have trouble saying no; except to our kids. We get ourselves overextended which is why we tell ourselves we need a vacation, a break. Get your time back and you won’t need a vacation you can’t afford, or a break from those who you love. You know the acronym for B.U.S.Y.? Burdened Under Satan’s Yoke…

     4) Clean up your house. Yes, I said clean up your house. It isn’t about cleanliness, it isn’t even about neatness, it is about structure, and organization. Children thrive in structure. Environment plays a huge role in a child’s life and yes I’m talking about their physical environment. When they see you take control of your and their environment they know they are with someone they can count on and trust, bringing security.

      5)  Stop doing what you “WANT”. That’s right, harsh words, I know. The excuse that you are making more money so you can take that vacation, fix up your house, drive a better car, so the kids will be better off……….news flash, they don’t care if they go on vacation, live in a bigger house, or drive a better car. Their needs are simple and as follows:  Mom, Dad, food, clothing, time and love.

    6) That’s right. I heard someone say one time that children spell LOVE, T-I-M-E. I’ve also heard the old saying “time is money”. But I will tell you either way, time is valuable. You will either pay now or pay later.

    7)    And last but not least, stop comparing. Stop comparing houses, clothes, cars, jobs, income, attitudes, abilities, and each other. If you want the ultimate and best example to compare yourself to--Jesus. And when you realize by doing that, that you are a complete and total failure in EVERY department. You will be right where He can really do with you, your time, and your family, exactly what you were REALLY wanting all along.  Strive for THAT, and there will be no need for any comparison in any area. 

I reiterate here that I am not an expert in child rearing. And I am quite confident that there are going to be some things here that will offend, and put some people off. But many times the truth about ourselves is a difficult thing to face. I’ve learned that first hand too, just keep reading.

I have been shocked and amazed by some of my children’s choices and decisions as adults. Something that I’m sure if I had developed certain relationships with them in some vital areas while they were very small they very possibly would not have made and be making those said choices.

I have cringed in recent years to hear my voice and comments come out of my adult children’s mouths. I know from personal heartbreak, that in time, those things will not serve them well and I pray they learn that without living with the same mistakes and regrets I have.

I knew structure was important to children, and schedule was maintained most of the time while they were growing up. Daily routines were followed, including making of beds, washing dishes, and picking up the house. They tell me now that those things taught them a great deal about structure, time management, organizational skills, work ethic and gave them a sense of security.

However, I found myself some days resenting the quantifiable time I had to spend just investing in my kids; especially when they were very small. I did nothing, it seemed, for myself. There simply wasn’t time. So when they did became more independent I jumped at the chance to do things I wanted to, things, that looking back were of no value except to me. Yes I needed an outlet, but I should have been more careful as to the time and effort it took. The words coming out of their mouths “I don’t WANT TO!” were often times the cry of my heart too.  Making a child AND yourself do something you don’t WANT to do or doing something you HAVE to do, is probably the hardest part of being a parent.

There was never enough money. Roger worked so hard, all day, extra jobs at night, but it all seemed to go somewhere, and looking back I know that it was mostly because the I DON’T WANT TO, took precedent over what should have been.

I grew up being told to compare myself to my three older sisters; what I wore, my hair, my makeup, my grades, my activities, so I didn’t do too much of anything without first comparing myself to someone. If you compare, your children will grow up comparing themselves with others, and be afraid to trust in their own instincts and abilities which only breeds redundancy and boredom.  Encourage their abilities and talents, even if they don’t fit your mold. Let them know that being different isn’t necessarily wrong; sometimes it is just different.

All that said, the most important thing I would say to these young parents who feel that they are drowning in work, jobs, children and childhood happenings is to PRAY. It can be done changing a diaper, nursing a baby, picking up toys, opening the mail, cleaning and scrubbing, doing laundry, breaking up a fight, driving the car, and it is free, it doesn’t cost a thing, and it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE and the life of everyone around you!

Talk to Jesus. He hears you, and best of all, He already knows what you’re going to tell Him. He already knows that you feel like a failure, or you’re so tired you’re about to snap, or your lonely and dying for some adult input in your life. He knows that you are actually feeling overwhelmed, would love to start over completely, but don’t have a clue how to do it. He knows.

I found the following verse when my children were little. I grabbed onto it like a life preserver, reminding Him that He said he would be gentle with me. He was and He still is. Where would I be without his compassionate grace and mercy? As usual the answer always rests with Jesus.


Isaiah 40:11
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and will gently lead those that have their young.



Sunday, April 5, 2015

"Don't you remember?"

We are all familiar with the Resurrection Story, to the point that we can tell it by heart. Like the Christmas story, it has almost become rote. So much of what is supposed to inspire us has faded with the everyday chores, and events of life. We have read the accounts of Jesus’s resurrection from all four gospels so many times that they all sort of meld together on Easter Sunday. So as I reread each account from the four gospels, I prayed to God to reveal more about Himself and as usual He was happy to oblige me.  

Luke 24: 1-10  On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.

“Then they remembered His words.”

What does God want you to remember today?

As these women went to the tomb, they were doing the normal activities for the preparation of the burial of a dead body. It was traditional, it was expected and it was considered necessary. All of it an indicator that their lives were returning to way they were before Jesus came. 

We have all had events in our lives that have changed us, and altered our paths in one direction or another. But over time, the sadness, or happiness, the euphoria, or excitement has a tendency to wear off.

As those women stood there looking at the empty tomb, and the huge stone that had been rolled away, being blinded by the brilliance of the two men before them they were reminded and remembered that Jesus had foretold his death and resurrection. Everything he has told them about it had happened, yet in the midst of all their grief and sorrow, they had forgotten. They had forgotten the words of the teacher and had returned to those traditional, expected and necessary tasks of the day.

 Vs 8 says “then they remembered His words.” I bet they remembered a lot of Jesus words at that moment. Other declarations, instructions, and promises. And as they remembered it and saw the proof before them, their lives changed. The events that HAD happened previously and what they experienced at the tomb that day would change them and the direction of their lives forever.
And after they returned to the upper room and shared with the 11 those people’s lives would change forever too.  And in time what Jesus had done would change the entire world.   

Remember.

Sometimes we all need to be reminded of how the Resurrection of Jesus changed each of our lives; our worlds.

Paul reminds us in Eph 1:3-14.

As a follower of Christ, who believes that he DID die on a cross, and rose again on the third day, you have been:

Forgiven – of your sins
Redeemed – through Christ’s blood
Accepted – by God
Chosen – before the foundations of the world
Holy – because God sees you through the blood of Christ shed on the cross
Adopted – by God and children of God
Heirs – of an eternal kingdom
Sealed - the Holy Spirit
Blessed – with every Spiritual blessing.

The list is actually endless of the blessing and gifts and promises that are ours through what happened on Easter. 

So I ask you today? What do YOU need to remember as you stand here watching the sun rise on this Easter Morning.

John 3:16-18
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son

He is Risen!
He is Risen Indeed!






Friday, February 20, 2015

His Love Endures Forever.......

Sam and I have a little game we play which is geared to help him pay attention to Grandma when I want him to focus and do what I ask. He does not realize it is a game, but he grins, and gets it, eventually, and we both laugh when the objective has been reached.

When that moment in our day arrives for him to get his shoes and coat on, grab his backpack and head for the car. I find myself repeating what I want him to do over and over and over again.

Can I get a witness?

It goes something like this:
“Sam get your shoes on….Get your shoes on….get your shoes on…get your shoes on…...” In a little sing song voice, that he eventually recognizes, grins, and realizes that Grandma wants those shoes on, and nothing else is going to happen or be said UNTIL those shoes are on. By the time he is ready to walk out the door we are usually grinning and singing one of our little ditties.

In my devotions yesterday, I read Psalm 136. I have read this PS many, many times in my life. I have prayed it, I have recited it in church as a responsive reading. Let’s just say I’m familiar with it. But yesterday when I read it again, I saw something in it I had not seen before. 

 Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.
10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
11 and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.
13 to him who divided the Red Sea[a] asunder
His love endures forever.
14 and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness;
His love endures forever.
17 to him who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
18 and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.
19 Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
20 and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.
21 and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
22 an inheritance to his servant Israel.
His love endures forever.
23 He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
24 and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
25 He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

You see it too? Don’t you?

“His Love Endures Forever”

I smiled as I heard the repetition in my voice as I read it.  And the little sing song that came. And I realized that God wants me to know something.

His Love Endures Forever! His Love Endures Forever! His Love Endures Forever! His Love Endures for Ever!

Of all the attributes of God listed, of all the things He has done for His people, and all the things He plans to do for His people,  I get the picture that God wants me to remember that His Love endures forever.  

These days there does not seem to be a lot of love in the world. So the reminder that God’s love endures forever is a comforting thought.




Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Forgetfulness of God

A great many of us start out each year with the plan to read through the entire Bible. I have been reading my Prayer Devotional Bible again this year. It is not exactly set up with a “read the Bible in a year” reading plan, but I have done it as such several times. There is a devotion for every day of the week, with a general historically based one for the weekends. Obviously, all the devotions are geared toward inspiring your prayer life.

This is a Bible that does not have a mark in it, which is unusual for me, I mark up my Bibles, with notes, and references, etc., but not this one. Perhaps that is why when I read it, because there is nothing to distract me on any page, certain words and passages just pop off the page at me. I keep my notes and thoughts written in a little notebook on the side.

Every day has brought a revelation above and beyond the days devotions. For example: when I was reading in the book of 1st Samuel, I did not get past the first chapter when I came across the phrase in 1st Samuel 1:19  “and the Lord remembered her”, in reference to Hannah’s deep desire to have a child.

My quirky brain immediately thought, “What? Did He forget her?” 

Now I have to admit, that when I thought that I chuckled to myself, because I know from reading the rest of the book that God doesn't forget anyone, He may forget our sins, but not us.

Don’t you feel sometimes that God has forgotten you though? I have been in Hannah’s position, wanting a child, and not being able to conceive, and I remember those years when it seemed that every other couple we knew were having children……and we were not. Yes, in all honestly, I felt forgotten. The ceiling had become lead and I felt my prayers were not getting through, and I knew that somehow I had been misplaced and possibly forgotten in God’s grand design. So when I read this I did chuckle, because like Hannah, God remembered me too.

He has remembered me so many times since then, I am certain I can’t remember all of them, and the list of the times He has would be endless.

So as I continued on in the story of Hannah, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness, of His incredible memory, and the blessed fact that He is also able to forget the very worst of us and our lives. I am thankful for a Savior who stood in the gap for me so that when God sees me, He has forgotten my sins and sees only Jesus.


For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
And I will remember their sins no more.”
 Hebrews 8:12